A major regional long-term care provider is offering a blueprint for how other operators can help their residents fight feelings of isolation and loneliness during the nationwide visitor ban that began its first week Monday.

PruittHealth, which has more than 90 locations in the Southeast, is allowing family members to schedule video chats with their residents in lieu of in-person visits.

“Unfortunately, new visitor restrictions change the routines for many of our residents. This is why we’re asking for the community’s help in making sure all our residents feel the compassion of their neighbors,” Chairman and CEO Neil L. Pruitt Jr. said.

The chain began offering the chat option following the latest guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that calls for nursing homes to ban most visitors.

Family members can call Pruitt’s  emergency operations center at (855) 742-5983 to schedule video chat appointments with residents living at any of the company’s facilities. Appointments are available starting today. 

“Since new visitation rules have been put in place in response to the threat posed by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the days and nights in these centers are about to become much quieter,” the company stated in a press release.  

The provider is also asking people to participate in “simple acts of kinds” by sending residents cards, illustrations, “Thinking of You” notes,” or a short greeting or video in an effort to improve their mood and well-being 

The “acts of kindness” can be sent to CaringCards@PruittHealth.com and employees will share the messages with residents to “ensure they know that they are in the thoughts of compassionate friends, even ones they have never met.”

“We continually strive to make sure our patients feel loved and a part of a community,” PruittHealth’s CEO added.